The 4-year-old son of slain NYPD Detective and Air National Guardsman Joseph Lemm saluted his father’s casket as it was carried into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a heartbreaking scene of the little boy behind the casket quickly captured the world’s attention. Little Ryan, wearing his father’s gold shield and clutching his police hat sat on the shoulders of his father’s partner as he watched the emotional proceedings unfold. What happened next left bystanders in tears, as they watched the heart-wrenching moment the tiny boy paid his final respects to dad.
Lemm was among six American service members killed on Dec. 21 when a Taliban suicide bomber on a motorcycle attacked a joint US-Afghan patrol near the military base in Bagram. He had tragically passed away after serving his country and the state of New York for over a dozen years. Considered by the Mayor as a “real-life New York success story” and niicknamed “Superman,” the brave cop was well known and respected in his field. He climbed the ranks quickly as a beloved member of New York’s finest, and eventually went on to serve his country overseas in the military.
A sea of Lemm’s brothers and sisters in blue streamed into the cathedral along with his comrades from the Air National Guard and Air Force. Leading the way was his four-year-old son Ryan who left attendees in tears with what he did next. Walking with officers, he trailed closely behind the flag draped casket as they made their way into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Watch the tear-jerking moment the sweet preschool solemnly lifts his tiny hand to his head, saluting his heroic father for one last time in the emotional video below.